SYSTEM DELEGITIMIZATION AND BELIEF IN LIFE AS A ZERO-SUM GAME
A series of research on three beliefs on social world is summarized: a system legitimacy belief, the belief in injustice of social world and the belief that life is a zero-sum game. A Polish national sample was studied as well a number of smaller student samples. A great majority of Poles was found to believe that social world is generally unjust, and a sizeable majority was found not to believe in legitimacy of the current socio-political system. Experimental research suggests that Poles do not develop myths justifying the existing social order. Rather, they tend to produce myths delegitimizing this order: Persons who attain social status or material wealth are perceived as less moral (though more competent) than persons of low status or relatively poor. The belief in life as a zero-sum game (that successes are won at the expense of other people's failures) is discussed as a factor underlying delegitimization of the social world.
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